Working with Vulnerable People

The Catholic Military Ordinariate Policy for Working with Children and Vulnerable People

  1. The Catholic Diocese of the Australian Military Services is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for all people in the ADF, our communities and our society. This is inclusive of those who are vulnerable in any aspect within our society. It is a responsibility and duty to live this principle of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, not only as Catholics in the spirit of Christ’s teachings, but also as citizens in our communities. As members of the Catholic Military Diocese it is incumbent upon us to adhere to professional standards as set by our nation and the Church, as well as an obligation for uniformed personnel, to perform their duties under Defence policies and regulations. 
  2. The policy is intended to provide a framework for a uniform standard of behaviour and compliance (i.e. best practice). Our Diocese will respond to complaints of unprofessional conduct in ways that reflect nationally established standards and protocols and ensure adherence to applicable legislation. We are committed to providing ongoing pastoral support to any person affected by physical, emotional or sexual abuse by church personnel.
  3. The Diocese provides information and support to all Catholic chaplains and paid and volunteer church personnel. We provide training and education, in conjunction with the Australian Defence Force, to develop and maintain the knowledge and skills required to implement safe working environments. In so doing we assist all chaplains with maintaining professional standards, ethical behaviour and ensure they operate within the associated legislation, in the conduct of their duties.
  4. The abuse of vulnerable people, or any person, tears at the fabric of family and community alike and has far reaching consequences. An incident of abuse can undermine years of dedicated service by a church community and faith in our fellow human beings.
Associated Legislation

Children, Youth and Families Act 2005
Working with Children Act 2005
Crimes Act 1958
Education and Training Reform Act 2006
Equal Opportunity Act 2010
Privacy Act 1988 (Commonwealth)

Relevant State/Territory Legislation in the geographical area covered by your postings or place of duty.

National Committee for Professional Standards

Integrity in Ministry. A Document of principles and standards for Catholic Clergy and Religious in Australia. June 2004
Integrity in the service of the Church. A resource document of principles and standards for lay workers in the Catholic Church in Australia. September 2011
Towards Healing. Principles and Procedures in responding to complaints of abuse against personnel of the Catholic Church in Australia. January 2010

Serving Chaplain Responsibilities and Actions with regard to Professional Standards.

  1. There are two adjacent and compatible standards involved for those who serve as Catholic Chaplains. Those of the Church and those of the Australian Defence Force.
  2. Those clerics or lay persons who have been granted a Ministry by the Military Ordinary and who remain endorsed by him to serve as Catholic Chaplains in one of the Services of the Australian Defence Force will at all times conduct themselves according to the teachings, doctrines, pastoral practice and expectations of the Catholic Church. They will also conduct themselves at all times according to the standards established by the proper authorities of the Australian Defence Force. Both are important. If, at any time, there was some doubt or perceived conflict between the two then Catholic Chaplains will defer to the standards established by the Church.
Church Requirements
  1. Without exception every Catholic Chaplain must have current Faculties from the Military
  2. Without exception every Catholic Chaplain must meet the requirements of the local Church authority in the geographical place of their posting or duty and have current permissions to exercise their ministry granted by the local Church authority.
  3. Without exception every Catholic Chaplain must have the necessary working with children and vulnerable persons clearances required by local civilian authorities of the State or Territory in which their posting is located. Details of that registration must be forwarded to the Chancery for recording. Some postings involve more than one civil jurisdiction and in that case the necessary clearances from all jurisdictions involved is
  4. Every Catholic Chaplain is to ensure and verify that visiting Catholic clergy who may be ministering in their area of responsibility in the Military Ordinariate have completed all the necessary processes that the Church requires with regard to professional standards and working with children and vulnerable persons clearances and are authorised to supply that ministry.
  5. Every Catholic Chaplain on full-time duty must participate in and complete the professional standards training and awareness programmes that is provided by the Military Ordinariate and by the geographical Local Ordinary – where offered – each year. A certificate stating that this annual training has been satisfactorily completed, or that no training is offered by the Local Ordinary, must be forwarded to the Military Ordinariate Chancery and will be placed in individual’s personnel
  6. Every Catholic Chaplain on part-time duty must forward to the Chancery a certificate that states they have satisfactorily completed each year the professional standards courses set down by their local Diocese or Religious Institute or a certificate that no such training is offered for inclusion in their personal
  7. Every Catholic Chaplain must fully complete the Personal Details and Contacts Form each year by 31st January. A reminder will be sent by email. The template for the form can be found as Attachment A to this Annex.
  8. Each Catholic Chaplain serving full-time is required to forward a copy of their annual PAR to the Chancery for inclusion in their personal
  9. If a Catholic Chaplain becomes aware of an allegation concerning professional standards breaches and/or abuse of a child or vulnerable person that must be reported to both church and civil/military authorities immediately. Each Chaplain must be aware of the contact person or details for reporting allegations of breaches in professional standards and/or abuse in the local Diocese. The Catholic Chaplain must report receiving or otherwise becoming aware of an allegation of breaches of Professional Standards and/or abuse to the Military Ordinariate and the local Diocese immediately. The contact person for the Military Ordinariate is the appointed Director of Safeguarding who can be contacted at or by mobile telephone number 0408 558 211. The Chaplain must report the matter to the relevant civil and/or military authority
  10. In addition to the general Diocesan Code of Conduct, every Catholic Chaplain must have a published local code of conduct that is to be applied within their area of responsibility to ensure that all areas used are safe places for children and vulnerable persons. A copy of the local code of conduct is to be sent to the Chancery of the Military Ordinariate and will be recorded on the Chapel file. Catholic Chaplains must sign the Diocesan Code of Conduct which will be retained on their personal file in the
  11. Every Catholic Chapel Community must have a pro-forma for a Child Safety Code of Conduct for use by visiting clergy, volunteers and assistants who are to be engaged in any activity associated with the Catholic Chapel community. This pro-forma is to be signed by the visitor before the activity commences and is to be retained by the Catholic Chaplain responsible for the Catholic Chapel community.
Australian Defence Force/ Single Service Requirements
  1. As serving Chaplains all Catholic Chaplains will observe strictly the policies, standards of behaviour and defined processes regarding professional standards matters established by the relevant Service